Robert Mandel Steps Down as AFI Conservatory Dean

Robert Mandel Steps Down as AFI Conservatory Dean

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Will return to directing, but will remain a faculty member

“School Ties” director Robert Mandel will end his nine-year tenure as dean of the The American Film Institute Conservatory, the school said Monday.

The film and television director will remain on the conservatory's faculty, but plans to resume directing. The school is one of the most selective film education programs in the country and the only conservatory in advanced film education.

“AFI is my home and always will be,” Mandel, who graduated from the conservatory in 1979, said in a statement. “It's an educational environment like no other in the world, where young men and women learn to make movies – by making movies. It has been my honor to help see the dreams of the next generation become reality and it is they, in fact, that have inspired me to return to directing. There are more stories to tell.”

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Highlights of his time at AFI Conservatory include attracting several notable directors and filmmaking talent to the faculty, including “Terms of Endearment” Oscar winner James L. Brooks, who became the school's artistic director. Mandel also added courses in acting, independent film finance, television and show running. And he created a career advice office to help graduates get work.

Mandel is an Emmy-winning director whose film and television credits include the thriller “F/X” and episodes of “Lost” and “Prison Break.” On stage, he has directed productions at The Manhattan Theatre Club, The Roundabout and The Public Theater.